Of all the cosmetic dental procedures performed in the United States each year, the most common by far is teeth whitening. The quality of one’s smile is important, not only to attract the opposite sex or to land a great job, but also to maintain one’s self confidence — a reluctance to smile can, over a long period of time, cause depression and anxiety.
But what’s the best way to go about it?
Any good dentist can whiten your teeth for you. Chemical whitening involves a peroxide-based mixture that oxidizes stains away from the enamel, restoring teeth to their original whiteness. This common procedure is performed in local dentists’ offices and cosmetic dentists’ offices the world over.
But the best dentists can offer their patients even more variety, and more efficient options. Laser teeth whitening has been shown to shorten the time needed for each treatment session, all while achieving the same great results as regular chemical whitening. For patients under a time constraint (if, for example, they’re only able to schedule a whitening appointment over their lunch break), laser teeth whitening is the perfect solution.
At its most basic level, laser teeth whitening is the exact same process as regular chemical whitening — a peroxide-based solution is applied to the teeth, and that solution removes stains and discolorations. But laser whitening uses a low-energy carbon laser to activate the peroxide solution, speeding up the process of oxidation and reducing the session time by as much as 75%.
Some patients report slightly increased sensitivity after a laser treatment, as well as tender or swollen gums (some have likened it to the after-effects of a deep teeth cleaning). But these symptoms resolve within a day or two, and are easily managed by anti-inflammatory drugs such as Tylenol.
If you’ve always wanted whiter teeth, but don’t have the time to spend on an hour-long session of basic chemical whitening, ask your dentist about laser teeth whitening — the smile of your dreams may be closer than you think. More like this.